BJD, BJP Engage in Verbal Sparring Over Mahanadi Water Dispute

The Mahanadi water dispute has resurfaced as a contentious issue in Odisha, triggering a heated exchange between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  and the opposition Biju Janata Dal (BJD). At the heart of the dispute lies allegations and counter-allegations regarding past governance and current responsibilities in addressing the water rights of Odisha.

BJP Criticism and Commitment to Resolve

The Mahanadi water dispute has reignited political tensions in Odisha, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blaming the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for mishandling the issue. Revenue Minister Suresh Pujari lambasted the previous BJD government, alleging negligence in presenting Odisha’s case effectively before the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal. He emphasized BJP’s determination to address the longstanding issue comprehensively.

BJD Defends Record and Demands Justice

In response, BJD held a press conference rebutting Pujari’s claim. They defended their past actions, highlighting their efforts in advocating for Odisha’s rights across different platforms, including the Central Water Commission and the tribunal. BJD leaders asserted that justice for Odisha must be prioritized without misleading public opinion, stressing their demands for special category status and revised coal royalties.

Emphasis on Separate Statehood and Coal Royalty

BJD MLA Pratap Keshari Deb reiterated the party’s longstanding demands during the ongoing coal block auctions. He urged the Odisha government to pursue revisions in coal royalties, emphasizing the need to address economic disparities through separate statehood discussions, which they plan to raise in upcoming meetings with the Prime Minister.

BJD Criticizes BJP’s Triple-Engine Claim

Criticism escalated when BJD leaders refuted BJP’s assertion of a “triple-engine government” controlling Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and the Centre. They accused BJP of overlooking the complexities of the Mahanadi dispute and called for a sincere resolution under the current political alignment.

BJD Labels BJP’s Criticism as Political Maneuvering

Labeling Pujari’s remarks as unfortunate and politically motivated, BJD leaders emphasized the pivotal role played by their government in escalating the Mahanadi issue to the national stage, leading to the tribunal’s formation.

BJP Asserts Commitment to Water Conservation

Responding to BJD’s allegations, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma condemned what they termed as a “fake drama” orchestrated by the opposition. Sharma reiterated BJP’s commitment to conserving Odisha’s water resources effectively, underscoring their approach as a responsible governing party.

Ongoing Political Posturing and Future Implications

The exchange underscores the deep-seated political maneuvering surrounding the Mahanadi water dispute, with both parties leveraging the issue to bolster their electoral narratives and discredit each other’s governance strategies. As tensions persist, the dispute remains a focal point for political discourse and public scrutiny in Odisha.

(With inputs from agencies)

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